A time to share

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Last Monday I was blessed to be able to work magically with my mentor Steve Dobson. I secured a gig for Weidner Apt. Homes. We performed strolling magic for 2 hours at Maggiano's Italian Restaurant in Bellevue.
I learned a lot from Steve this day! Plan to arrive about an hour into their function. Not at the beginning. People are meeting and greeting, finding their tables, wanting to schmooze each other when they first arrive. They are not interested in YOU asking them if they want to see a trick! Also, count the number of tables and chairs. Figure out how many people are going to show up so you can try to plan an amount of time at each table. Speaking of that, it dawns on me as well something else Steve mentioned... by arriving an hour into the event, people will be seated and most of the tables will be full rather than three at this table five here, and so on. That way you won't be interrupted by new arrivals coming to join a table that you are working and the magical effect broken as people get up to shake hands etc. Another important thought he shared with me is to choose your first table carefully! I thought it simple to just start at one corner of the room, Steve at the opposite one, and go about it. Well I chose the wrong table and this sets the tone. I had a very tough man that wanted nothing to do with magic, and Steve chose a table by observing all the tables and looking for one where some people are already jovial. Great Lesson!!!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Too Intense. Moi? :)

Recently I have been told by several people that I am too intense. I have been told as well by some people that I have toned down my intensity. I find this an interesting topic, especially as it is said about me. I have some thoughts about this, and it will most likely sound as though I am defending myself... and maybe I am! :) I am intense about politics, religion, magic, abortion, homosexuality, sports, and all manner of things.Oops, almost forgot fishing... MY GAWD MAN! I HOPE YOU ARE INTENSE ABOUT SOMETHING! If not, go away... I find it ironic how someone else gets to label me, or you for that matter. I mean, what is someone had said about me, dude you are passionate! A whole different mind picture is painted, isn't it!? :) I doubt that anyone has ever felt the need to defend their position when someone says you are passionate about something have they? It is now seen as a positive thing! What if someone says you are anal about something? My mentor says of himself that he is anal about his magic and the amount of time he spends practicing. He also says he is anal about photography. What do these words mean anyway? Anal is short for: Analytical. Which the dictionary defines as... 1.pertaining to or proceeding by analysis. 2.skilled in or habitually using analysis. Intense: 1.existing or occurring in a high or extreme degree 2.acute, strong, or vehement, as sensations, feelings, or emotions. 3.of an extreme kind; very great, as in strength, keenness, severity, or the like. 4.having a characteristic quality in a high degree: for example, The intense sunlight was blinding. 5.strenuous or earnest, as activity, exertion, diligence, or thought: an intense life. Passionate: 1.having, compelled by, or ruled by intense emotion or strong feeling; fervid. 2.easily aroused to or influenced by sexual desire. 3.expressing, showing, or marked by intense or strong feeling; emotional: passionate language. 4.intense or vehement, as emotions or feelings. 5.easily moved to anger; quick-tempered; irascible. Funny, but all of these words describe me and in some ways I am very glad that I am passionate, intense and anal.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Home Party!

Saturday Night Magic Show for a home party was a bit different than Friday's show. Why? I am not sure, but I never got comfortable in my role as a magician for this group. I think it stems from the fact that the man that hired me wanted to introduce me as his friend. I had never met him before. He found me on the internet and hired me to perform for his group over two other magicians. He is tha manager at a Costco Company around here. He has many employees beneath him. This was not a business or corporate event as all this was set up at his home by him and his wife. I arrived about 50 minutes early per our plan to set up etc. Roland wanted me to magically produce and hand out the twelve or so Christmas/bonus gifts. I had planned to produce them in a dove pan while saying I was going to magically bake a cake. I wanted to have them all in the bottom of the dove pan under the cake, wrapped in zip lock bags of course. When Roland gave me the "cards" I realized they were really long. I asked if I could fold them a bit. He said no, they are all hand made cards. Now I had a dilemma. His wife said, "oh, just hand them out, they'll all be happy to get them. (She was right of course, maybe because by then most of them had a few drinks in em..) At any rate, this was the beginning of my frustration. I was set up and ready to go way ahead of time, the guests began arriving and true to his word, Roland introduced me to his co workers and their guests as his friend Tim. I waited semi patiently as more people arrived, trying to remember names and find an opportunity to begin performing close up magic. Roland gave me a nudge and I noticed a nice pool table in the family room with which to use as a close up table. First I struck up a conversation with a woman and of course she asked me what I do... I told her that I am an entertainer and that is why I am here, I led her to a group of other ladies and did Crazy Man's hand Cuffs for them, it went really well, and I was off and running... I went to the pool table and removed two decks of playing cards and performed Do As I Do for a woman and others began inching nearer. I only did a set of three effects after that... Something I call Prestidigitation, followed by Search & Destroy, and then Zingone 12 card mental Problem. This really "slayed" those watching. The host, Roland asked me if I could do something to embarrass him... I thought for a minute and decided that I would do Ambitious Card with Card on Forehead, and maybe end that with Card on Ceiling. I had looked at the ceiling earlier and noticed it was a slanted ceiling.... Hadn't done Card on Ceiling to a slanted Ceiling but felt it possible if I threw the deck at the right angle. So that is what I did... it all went perfectly, including Card on Fore head which is one I rarely do...(Thank you Steve Dobson for helping me understand and use my tool box!) Roland just looked at me with a deer in headlights look when the cards came back down from his ceiling. He had not realized that HIS signed card was stuck up there. He was waiting for something, looking at me, Because of the slanted angle of his ceiling the cards came back down with the rubber band still around them, but I missed catching the pack and they exploded when they hit the floor. I slowly raised my eyes to the ceiling, he didn't understand, I nodded up... up... finally he looked up and began laughing out loud... his wife screamed "is that your card?" Roland could only reply, "It has my name on it." And then , "How the ...? " This basically concluded my close up time as it was time for everyone to eat. I was invited to eat as well, and so I did. After dinner, I performed a stand up show for them. It went very well too, although I didn't feel I made a connection. After analyzing the show in my mind, I realize that maybe it went much better than I think and that I am mis-reading people a lot. Sometimes as my friend Tom Frank would say, they are just stunned into silence. I think this happens way more than I realize. The audience does not know how to react. They are so amazed, they have never experienced magic sitting this close in someones living room, they had no idea what to expect, what was going to happen... they are lost as to how to react. Maybe because I didn't open my stand up show with 1 finger clap, instead I opened with Three Signed Cards Rise From a sealed envelope... Maybe... it was way better than I think. Dai Vernon said, "how do you go into it, How do you come out of it? When talking about how to share a magic trick. I think this holds true on a larger scale too. Not only each effect, but also for your whole show.

Lots To Learn

This post is out of order sequentially, it was in my saved file and when I hit post, this is where it posted.

I realize it has been months since I last posted here..
Well here goes.!
I had a wedding show last Saturday.
I was told there would be some children there.
Was I good with children? I replied that I am good with children.
I love children! Ha ha.
I got the gig. It was about 40 miles away in Mill Creek. I was hired to do my stand up show while the bride and groom were off getting there pictures taken after being married!
A wonderful Idea. I thought I would be able to perform for everyone as they waited about an hour for the bride and groom to arrive.
The room set up was horrible. Round tables set about a square dance floor. I was set up in a point of the floor so that a door was at my back for a magical purpose later.
I entertained five children with a quick Bird Catcher paddle trick, the children really enjoyed it... shouts of "Do that again!" always let me know it was good!Then I invited them to come sit on the floor about five to ten feet in front of my table.
Adults were invited to join and come in for a closer look as well, but none of them moved. I told them it is a great show, I've seen it a hundred times... not much response from them.
So I began my show with the one finger clap I do to warm up a crowd. Few joined in but it gave me an idea of who would be willing to join in the magical fun.
I noticed a lot of people out in the hallway, I invited them into the room for the show. They were all lined up signing the guest book.
After the warm up I launched into the vanishing silks routine, it was good, many gasps. The children wanting to see it again. I moved on to the Chinese sticks. This I hoped was large enough to draw some attention to me from the depths of the room. It had the desired affect, but only for a few people. What was going on? How am I going to reach these people!?
I was "miked" up, and still struggling to get to them. I started the Acrobatic Knot routine and lost them. I almost threw in the towel. I actually contemplated saying, "hey, gotta run" and boogeying on outta that place. I didn't need the money that bad...
I kept working, obviously struggling. A few adults, about five or six were enjoying the show.. The Cut and Restored Rope/Professors Nightmare got a few interested, by now the children had scattered and returned... I was living in my own nightmare by now...
Had someone come up and help with a card trick, Lassoing a Card, it went well, well enough I suppose, the woman was having fun, I brought up another woman to help with the floating Card, Linking Rings was next, still, the crowd was spread out to far, I thought about moving to the center of the dance floor, or at least up about ten feet, but that door behind me was needed for a reveal of the bride in a little while.. Vanishing Bandana, Grand Father's Famous Bag Trick and Cups and Balls.
I never finished the Cups and Balls and the Groom arrived in mid Cups... Mid Cups and Balls that is...I was about two minutes from my closing effect being finished, man was I glad to wrap it up, although I had decided to produce large lemons for the first time, never got to them!
The groom and I did a nice effect where he wrapped himself up in a nice large cloth, and his new bride appeared in his place. It was pretty good, even though her dress showed beneath the curtain a bit.
They enjoyed it and I was free to pack up.
I packed up and loaded my car with my stand up show and proceeded to entertain table to table with some close up magic. This went a bit better as I could actually engage some people.
I had planned with the bride and groom a special piece of magic which I performed for the,
I hope it was enough. This piece went really well and I think they were very happy with it.
I hope someone tells them some good things about me as they did not get to see the show.
What can I learn from this?
I was told by the D.J. that it was not my fault, that parents should control their kids.
That "You" did the best you could under the circumstances.
Still. I feel it is my responsibility to know what EXACTLY I am getting into and be more prepared. I am going to put together two suit cases of shows. A children's case with things like Magic Coloring Book, Needle Thru Balloon, Learn a decent Sponge Ball routine. Work on getting good at a few Balloon Animals. Not that I want to become a children's magician. But it doesn't hurt to be well rounded.
I need to ask more and better questions from potential clients as well. This is something I am generally afraid to do and yet I think it will make me be perceived as a better informed professional. Yes, that makes sense!
I recently told an audience that an entertainer is only as good as his audience. Well this was proved again to me at this show. While I take full responsibility for the "lack" in this show because I failed to ask enough questions to ascertain EXACTLY what was wanted of me... the audience needs to become a participant in the festivities as well.
A symbiotic relationship must occur between the performer and his audience.A give and take relationship. It is a "Yin& Yang" thing.
It didn't happen this time, but when it does, real magic happens.
It is a true blessing to everyone when the connection is made and held.

I'm Back

Well Hello! Ya it's been awhile, not much, how about you? Actually it has been a very interesting time of late. Lots of magic, lots of magical growth and well, just growing as a human being at the age of 53.. I know, when did that happen! :) I had two magic shows over the weekend and they have prompted me to begin thinking about writing here again. So much Face Book going on and it is really becoming draining... So here goes. Friday night I performed my stand up show for a company gathering for their annual get together. The company is called Luton, and the make and distribute light switches and such. The show was in their offices building in Downtown Seattle. I arrived early and met my contact. She was a very nice woman named Michelle. We hit it off right away. She showed me where she wanted me to set up and so I did. It was such a small gathering of people I decided that I didn't need to "mic" myself... that was my first (and only) mistake! My wife joined me on this occasion and it was a good thing as I had lots to carry in. Michelle had the evening planned and the order of events, but as often happens, the best laid plans of mice and men do not often go according to plan. The guests were late in arriving and so her plans to feed people before my show were changed, which of course changed my plans. Michelle asked if I could start early? This was not a problem, but it did kind of change the way I was thinking of "going into" my show. In my mind I had thought that I would be able to warm people up to me with a few minutes of strolling magic. This plan was now changed. I began to realize that this group was pretty loud and so I hurried to set up my microphone system. Good thing too. I am learning to trust my judgement more as I venture forth magically! My set list included: 1 finger clap T. T. Silks Acrobatic Knot Cut & Restored Rope with Professors Nightmare ending Teleportation Device Lassoing a Card Vanishing Bandana Egg Bag Wellington Switch Board Linking Rings, and Cups & Balls This is the order that eventually happened. I had a really tough time figuring out my order of effects. As I practiced my show... I tried the cups and balls in an earlier position, but found that it cluttered my table for anything after. I had thought that Teleportation Device would be my closer, but it turned out to be fine right there at the end of the opening set or so... Also, I had originally place the Linking Rings before the Wellington Switch Board, but forgot the Rings until I had already done the Switch Board and noticed them resting up against my buskers pouch for the Cups and Balls. In my mind I made a quick decision, should I do the rings or skip em? I decided to go with it and perform the Linking Ring routine right before the cups and balls. I had always assumed this was not a good place for them, But I think now it was pretty good. All ent well and I met some really great people!